All the foods hornworms eat

So for the past few weeks I've been searching for foods that hornworms are known to eat in captivity when raising them. Here's what I got.


silk worm chow

This is obvious. There is also hornworm chow, but we're trying to find out what they eat BESIDES this. :p

Tomato plants

The natural food of horn worms, but it makes them toxic.

Mulberry leaves

This is simple enough. However, not everyone has access to mulberry trees, or trees that are big and don't have pesticides or problem insects.

actual tomatoes (and broccoli and spinach)

I thought this was weird too. Some posts I found said they had to be green, but most grocery stores get tomatoes in that were picked while green that turned red while they were off the vine, so I believe those would work. Besides, they taste like worm food anyway.
These ones inhibits the absorption of calcium in the bones of what eats the hornworms to some degree.

celery

The post I found said it was mashed.

collared greens

Somehow makes sense. Perhaps it extends to mustard greens.

grape vine leaves

Bit odd. Chances are, you also won't have these available.

red bell peppers

The actual fruit and plant.

dandelion leaves

Silkies also eat these. Problems would be pesticides, weed killer, and bugs.

romaine lettuce & raw potatoes

*shrug*

....each other

Everyone with hungry worms would know this. Perhaps it could indicate that they might consume other insects or meat-based protein?



Anything else? I've been wanting to get a group of horn worms, some chow as a "for sure" food, and see what I can do about raising them cheaply.
 

Eltortu

Established Member
Dude if I were you, I'll stick to the chow...you don't want to experiment and then intoxicate your reptile, you know?
 

Chamster

New Member
i just want to be completely clear of one thing because i have no problem getting access to it.... can i feed hornworms mulberry leaves or not?

i got about 20 trees right outside my house so i would be very happy if i don't have to think about hornworm food ever again.....
 
I'm pretty freaking sure.

Heck, if you have that many trees, why not raise silk worms?

Dude if I were you, I'll stick to the chow...you don't want to experiment and then intoxicate your reptile, you know?
Tomato plants are the only thing on that list that's toxic.
Well, and maybe each other if they were fed tomato plants. XD
 

sandrachameleon

Chameleon Enthusiast
grape vine leaves arent unusual where I live. Lots of grapes grow in lots of places all over north america. Commonly used in greek cooking as well. high in calcium.
Dandelion leaves are also nutritious.

theyll happily eat tomatoe leaves and tobacco leaves but both of these are to be avoided if using the hornworms as feeders for your cham. avoid pepper plant leaves (the fruit is fine to use)
 

Ace

Avid Member
the t0matoe fruit itself is to be cautioned with (too much can be bad) as well,among with broccoli and spinache it inhibits the absorbion of calcium in the bones

you do haave a good question of what natural things to give to hornworms


what about grapevine leaves? i think they are good

but overall tthe chows are the only option now, as far as i know, sorry:eek:
 

suzi

Avid Member
I have also read that they will eat carrots. I have fed mine red bell pepper and they have eaten it. I was unaware of dandelions,this is good news for me cuz I have tons outside and I have hornworms and silkies and many of both of there eggs. I was under the impression that silkies only ate mulberry. I can't wait to try it!:D:D
 

Chamster

New Member
I think I'm just going to feed my horns some mulberry leaves. I got plenty of it... Btw I tried raisin silkies but all eggs never hatched... Not sure why.
 

suzi

Avid Member
I think I'm just going to feed my horns some mulberry leaves. I got plenty of it... Btw I tried raisin silkies but all eggs never hatched... Not sure why.
Did you refridgerate them or incubate them, or room temp?
 
the t0matoe fruit itself is to be cautioned with (too much can be bad) as well,among with broccoli and spinache it inhibits the absorbion of calcium in the bones

but overall tthe chows are the only option now, as far as i know, sorry:eek:
I'll note that.

The chow has been the only option for years. The oldest post I saw concerning the chow and 'what else I can feed' was late 2004. I think it's time for someone to try doing something about it.

I have also read that they will eat carrots. I have fed mine red bell pepper and they have eaten it. I was unaware of dandelions,this is good news for me cuz I have tons outside and I have hornworms and silkies and many of both of there eggs. I was under the impression that silkies only ate mulberry. I can't wait to try it!:D:D
I read recently here that someone feeds 50% chow, something else, and like 10% dandelions to their silkies. Just make sure the dandelions are clean of pesticides and such.
 

kaldaka87

New Member
I know this has been inactive for a while, but I wanted to mention that I successfully raised hornworms to the pupae, and the adult moth form, feeding Dandelion leaves. You can buy dandelion leaves from the grocery store if you don't want to collect it yourself.
 

sandrachameleon

Chameleon Enthusiast
that's great to hear :)

This homemade chow/paste works for feeding hornworms too:
You can make a paste (blender) from dandelion, grape vine leaves, arugula, mustard greens, basil, some sweet potatoe, some carrot, wheat germ, a dash of spirulina and a little brewers yeast

tangent:
I raised silkworms on 50% mulberry, 50% dandelion.
 

ridgebax1

Established Member
Many of the cruciferous vegetables can interfere with calcium metabolism if fed excessively to reptiles. I was unaware that feeding these foods to insects as a gutload would have the same effect. I really hate the smell of hornworm poop when they eat commercial chow. I found a recipe for homemade chow and it does not make the poop stink as bad. It is not hard to make. I got most of the ingredients in my grocery store and the rest on amazon.

HORNWORM CHOW

1 cup (100 g) of non-toasted wheat germ (Bobs Red Mill, Milwaukie, OR)
1/3 cup (25 g) of nonfat dry milk (Sanalac, Fullerton, CA)
4 tablespoons of agar (generic)
1 teaspoon pure raw flaxseed oil (nonboiled, Sunnyside Corp., Wheeling IL)
1/2 tablespoon nutritional flake yeast (generic)
1 vitamin C tablet (1000 mg) (generic)
2 vitamin B tablets (generic)
2 multivitamin tablets (generic)
1 tablespoon of table sugar (generic)
2 1/2 cups water

1. Place vitamin tablets in blender and reduce to a powder. To this powder, add the wheat germ, powdered milk, and sugar and blend until the dry components are well-mixed.

2. Remove the dry mix from the blender and add 2.5 cups of boiling water. While mixing at low speed, add the agar. Be careful to replace the lid on the blender before turning it on. Blend for one minute and then add the dry mix and continue to mix.

3. Add the linseed oil and increase blender speed. You may need to manually blend the diet while the blender is running. The diet gets rather viscous at this point.

4. After blending for about 5 minutes, add the nutritional yeast flakes and continue blending for another minute. Components in the yeast are heat labile, thus, yeast is added as late as possible.

5. Once the diet is thoroughly mixed, pour it into a plastic tray that has a sealable airtight lid. The diet will solidify and remain usable for about 7 to 10 days if kept refrigerated."
 

K. Host

Member
My hornworms eat banana peel. I don't use them to feed my reptiles. I am actually keeping them sorta like pets.
 

Dro B

Member
Grape leaves don't work, I've tried and they won't eat it. There are 100's of hornworm types and almost every plant has a hornworm that feeds on it, but many people assume any hornworm is a tomato hornworm, even though tomato hornworms are somewhat rare and they're actually thinking of tobacco worms, neither of which are usually the species they see.
 
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